Michael L Rutushin from Youngstown, OH, is a multi-talented individual with an undeniable creative vision for both music and visual art. His vision comes alive in his musical project Larry Elefante, featuring a massive all-star cast including the core members of Michael Rutushin on vocals/guitar, Michelangelo Carubba (Turkuaz) on drums, Dan Africano (Elephant Wrecking Ball, Ghost Light) on bass, and Jeremy Schaffer on keys. The album includes guest appearances from legendary trombonist Scott Flynn (Elephant Wrecking Ball, John Brown’s Body, Odesza), vocals by Sammi Garret and Shira Elias (Turkuaz), horns composed by Scott Flynn on the tracks “Once I Was” and “The Long Way,” guitar from Rob Compa (Dopapod) and Craig Brodhead (Turkuaz), plus many more guitarists with a total of 40 musicians collaborating, including Michael’s mother lending her vocals to Track 1.
That’s a lot of legendary musical power and laborious love to throw at you, so we’re going to let that sink in for a minute.
The album I Get Sentimental certainly lives up to its name, featuring as its album cover an old photograph of Michael’s mother tucked into an orange and pink vintage photo album he found in his parent’s home. Inspiration struck him immediately to make it an album cover, and the retro sentiments continued with the decision to release the record on not just CD, but vinyl, cassette, and 8-track.
The homegrown recording saga started at the Oxide Shed in Athens, OH, with Michael sharing some homemade blackberry wine with Michelangelo, Dan, and Eddie Ashworth behind the soundboards to record 7 out of 8 songs on the album over the course of one 12 hour session. Afterwards, Michael laid down his guitar parts and scratch vocals, then Athens, OH, native Jeremy Schaffer came in to record the piano and fender Rhodes parts. The album continued to build its delicate and delicious layers with the composition of the song “Too Much” written by Greg Sanderson of Turkuaz, and vocals recorded for the track from Sammi Garret and Shira Elias on a traveling rig in the stairwell of the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh, PA, run by friend and beloved promoter Ben Penigar.
The journey then continued with the recording of guitar parts from a different lead guitarist on each track, all recorded in home studios and studios across the country and overseas. The following guitarists lended their talents to the album: Amos Rose on Track 1, Nick Dzuban on Track 2, Kyle Lalone on Track 3, Rob Compa (Dopapod) on Track 4, Connor Grant (Tongues Unknown) on Track 5, Brad Huffman on Track 6, Sam Terkel on Track 7 (recorded in Tel Aviv, Israel), and Craig Brodhead of Turkuaz on Track 8 recorded at Galaxy Smith Studios in Brooklyn, home of Turkuaz.
“It’s truly a collaborative piece that encompasses a whole lot of my musical family and experiences from Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn, NY; and Athens, OH,” says Michael. With that amount of friends and family coming together all over the world for one album, I think the word collaboration is an understatement. Michael continues to perform around the country with different artists, ever evolving and creating a new experience with a homemade authentic feel.
If the story and imagery behind this album doesn’t get you all worked up and sentimental already, we suggest you read our album review and listen along for yourself. You can add this loving vision of music to your collection by buying the vinyl, cassette, or CD, or just quickly buy a digital download, all on the Larry Elefante Bandcamp.